One of my most favouritest out-and-back routes has a particularly nasty hill at the halfway point. There’s a gatepost at the top, and I’ve developed a triumphant little ritual of high-fiving it whenever I get there.
I think this sort of behaviour is quite common among runners. We like to tap inanimate objects1 as a way of putting a full stop at the end of the pain; a way of silently saying “well I’ve proved to myself that I’m bloody awesome, but that’s quite enough of that, thank you so very much”.
(Also, there’s a little part of me that likes to pretend that it’s a magical gatepost, and that if I tap it just right, the elves who live inside it will grant me wishes).
But today, I have a little dilemma. It was a very nice run, despite the sun beating down on me like that skateboarder from footnote 1, and I found myself cruising towards the halfway point with a happy grin on face. But as I drew closer, I realised with horror that there was something different about my hopefully-enchanted tapping post.
Draped over the top, like a sad flag, was a pair of pants.
An old misshapen pair of men’s white pants, to be precise.
Well, I mean they looked as though they used to be white, once upon a time. Now they just looked as though they’d been stewed in a big cauldron of sweat, misery and old butter. They had that saggy, world-weary look that suggested that they’d punished on a daily basis, rather than simply worn.
Oh, and on closer inspection, I started to get an idea of the “event” that had led to their previous owner deciding to suddenly go sans pants miles from civilisation. People need to understand that there’s such a thing as too much fibre.
Um… it’s starting to sound as though I spent quite a lot of time studying these wretched things, but that’s honestly not the case. It’s just that the human mind can soak up a lot of gruesome detail in that split-second when you realise your hand is just an inch away from high-fiving something out of a very specialist horror film.
I recoiled just in time, uttering a frightened little squeaking noise that’d almost certainly get me drummed out of the Chuck Norris fan club. There was no bloody way I was touching that post. But therein lies the dilemma…
Does the run still count if I didn’t complete this utterly-pointless borderline OCD ritual?
Well, no, of course it doesn’t. Don’t be silly. It’s the whole reason Garmins have a “delete” option.
PS: I didn’t take a picture to accompany this story, mainly because I like my phone and I didn’t want to have to keep it in a bucket of bleach for the foreseeable future. If you want to do a google image search for “abandoned pants” then be my guest, although it’ll mean that we can’t be friends any more. Here’s a picture of a quokka instead. Look! He wants a people hug!!